March 28th 2015 Is An Unfair Contest Between Barack Obama And Goodluck Jonathan
In all the discourse and campaigning of the past few months, a very important development appears to have been ignored. For the very first time, possibly in history, a United States (“U.S.”) government has willfully contravened its settled convention of non-interference in the electoral process of sovereign nations.
Through a series of barely concealed zero-sum interventions that denigrate President Goodluck Jonathan, U.S. President Obama appears to be clearly promoting the candidacy of the All Progressives Congress (“APC”) presidential flagbearer, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired).
On March 19th 2015, in a most condescending and illadvised action, the U.S. Vice President Mr. Joseph Biden Jr. telephoned President Jonathan and General Buhari, ostensibly to commit both leading presidential contenders to non-violent elections. However, a subsequent press release by the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria revealed that Mr. Biden seemingly adopted identical positions with the APC and General Buhari, notably by supporting the use of the controversial card readers, which have not been adequately tested.
Before that, the U.S. Secretary of State Mr. John Kerry had visited Nigeria on January 25th 2015, less than a month to the earlier scheduled presidential election date of February 14th 2015. When the election was postponed, the U.S. led a boisterously undiplomatic chorus of protests, thereby meddling in what is clearly the internal affairs of Nigeria. The U.S. was reportedly upset because of what it perceived was an attempt by President Jonathan to smother the seemingly unstoppable momentum of General Buhari, even though the rescheduled date of March 28th 2015 is constitutionally in order.
Mr. John Kerry's visit was also to express grave reservations regarding the threat issued in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State by prominent Niger Delta militants the previous day, i.e. on January 24th 2015. The warlords, led by Messrs Government Ekpudomenowei Ekpemupolo (alias “Tompolo”), Ebikabowei Victor Ben (alias “Boyloaf”) and Mujahid Asari Dokubo, declared that they would resist any outcome other than a victory by their benefactor and kinsman, President Jonathan.
Meanwhile, the Obama White House did not repudiate the obviously treasonable statement by Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who is also Director General of All Progressives Congress (“APC”) Presidential Campaign Organisation, at the APC Salvation Rally on November 19th 2014, that the APC would form a parallel government if General Buhari does not prevail at the ballot box. A few days later, APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and National Publicity Secretary Mr. Lai Mohammed later confimed that Amaechi's declaration is the official position of their party.
Another very important pointer to the Obama White House's deliberate effort to de-legitimise President Goodluck Jonathan is the curious decision not to sell weapons systems as well as communications and intelligence platforms, to boost the Nigerian military's ongoing counterinsurgency operations against the deadly Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad (alias “Boko Haram”). The reason cited by the U.S. is the alleged human rights violations by Nigerian security forces. This rings hollow when one considers that the U.S. continues to supply sophisticated military hardware and technology to the most repressive regimes worldwide, such Saudi Arabia. Even Nigeria's neighbour, Chad, whose reputation for brutality is well known, has benefitted from U.S. military equipment and training, apparently in close co-ordination with France.
While hesitant to provide the requested support, the U.S. has been swift to denigrate the recent successes of the Nigerian military as the outcome of the direct intervention by multinational forces from the Niger, Chad, and long-time Nigerian adversary Cameroon. This view has received extensive projection by respected columnists and foreign policy pundits on mainstream American media.
This position ignores the logical rationale for regional collaboration which is based on the fact that Boko Haram's operational outposts, logistics chain and recruitment networks straddle the very same countries that constitute the multinational task force.
Besides, why is it acceptable for the world's most powerful military – the U.S. – to mobilise multinational coalitions such as during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the 2001 Afghanistan invasion, 2011 U.S.-led regime-change campaign in Libya, the ongoing anti-Islamic State operation in Iraq and Syria; but not acceptable for Nigeria to do likewise even when the geopolitical reality makes it imperative?
Also, Cable News Network (“ CNN ”), Voice of America (“ VOA ”) and New York Times have recently circulated very widely, stories and photographs of white-skinned persons seemingly embedded with Nigerian uniformed forces in the battlefield theatre, asserting that a large number of South African, Ukranian and Georgian “mercenaries” engaged by the Nigerian government in active combat role are instrumental in reversing Boko Haram's advances.
The Nigerian government has explained that the foreigners are military advisers and technicians, engaged to train Nigerian troops on the handling and maintenance of recently acquired equipment. However, the New York Times insists that the “mercenaries”, who are reportedly being paid US$ 400 cash per head daily, engage in pitched firefights from their Maiduguri Airport base, killing scores of Boko Haram militants at night, then yield the space to the Nigerian soldiers in the daytime, thereby enabling the latter claim unmerited credit.
This is an interesting take by the humongous and ever sanctimonious American diplomatic, foreign policy and media establishment. When the U.S. recruits the services of private security personnel in aid of their numerous operations worlwide, they are described as “contractors” but when Nigeria does likewise, the U.S. calls them “mercenaries”. Paul Lubeck of Johns Hopkins University effusively disparages the Goodluck Jonathan Adminstration as “subcontracting the national polity”.
The decision of the Obama White House to provide undeclared support to the All Progressives Congress (“APC”) presidential candidate, General Buhari may be due to one key factor. APC shrewdly recruited leading American political and media consultancy AKPD, to repackage its erstwhile unattractive presidential flagbearer from an ugly duckling into a golden swan.
AKPD, run by President Obama's most trusted confidant Mr. David Axelrod, has used its unfettered access to the White House to rally the awesome bully pulpit of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue against President Goodluck Jonathan's re-election prospect, even at the expense of Nigeria's national security and medium term political stability.
The above referred partisan stance is contrary to what the Obama White House spokesman, Mr. Josh Earnest, re-stated on January 23rd 2015, as the now established posture that the U.S. traditionally adopts towards all democratically held elections, as follows:
“And this (Obama's) administration goes to great lengths to ensure that we don't give even the appearance of interfering or attempting to influence the outcomes of a democratically held election in another country. And for that reason the President will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits the U.S. in March.
“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle , we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country.” END OF QUOTE.
The White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan also said in a statement:
“Accordingly, the President will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his (i.e. Netanyahu's) planned address to the U.S. Congress.” END OF QUOTE.
With March 28th 2015 only a few hours away, Nigerians in particular and the world at large await the outcome of this unfair contest between the world's modern day Goliath and the Nigeria's David.
Written by Dr. Mohammed Sarki.